Japan Deco-Yokohama’s Surprising Art Deco Heritage

The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 devastated Yokohama, resulting in lots of new construction, some in the Art Deco style.

The purpose of my visit was to see the Hikawa Maru. That alone would have been enough, but there was more and when you consider how scarce Art Deco is in Japan, Yokohama is pretty impressive.

Close by the Hikawa Maru is the Hotel New Grand, built in 1927. The exterior is rather plain but when you enter, you are met by a long staircase that directs your eyes to the amazing ceiling. There are a mix of elements here, and certainly some early Art Deco, especially the chandeliers.

Next is the 1928 Kanagawa Prefectural building, with a Frank Lloyd Wright – Art Deco look.

This last one is a bit of a walk but worth it. The Yokohama Bankers Association (3-28 Honcho, Naka-ku) designed by Yoshikuni Okuma and Gozo Hayashi in 1936. The intricate detail here recalls the work of Louis Sullivan.

Yokohama Bankers Association. The floor on top is a 1960s addition.

Thanks to Photoshop, the pre-1960 appearance.

If you’re interested in more Yokohama Art Deco and haven’t read the post on the Hikawa Maru, it’s here.

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